Early Geology

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the emergence of geology as a scientific discipline. A little over two hundred years ago a small group of friends founded the Geological Society of London. This organisation was the first devoted to furthering the discipline of geology - the study of the Earth, its history and composition. Although geology only emerged as a separate area of study in the late eighteenth century, many earlier thinkers had studied rocks, fossils and the materials from which the Earth is made. Ancient scholars in Egypt and Greece speculated about the Earth and its composition. And in the Renaissance the advent of mining brought further insight into the nature of objects found underground and how they got there. But how did such haphazard study of rocks and fossils develop into a rigorous scientific discipline?

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Stephen Pumfrey 5 episodes
    Senior Lecturer in the History of Science at Lancaster University
  • Andrew Scott 2 episodes
    Professor of Applied Palaeobotany at Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Leucha Veneer 2 episodes
    Research Associate at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Manchester

Related episodes

Programme ID: b01dgh7d

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01dgh7d

Auto-category: 550 (Earth sciences)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello, the Geological Society of London was founded at a dinner at the Freemason's Tavern in Covent Garden in London on the 13th of October 1807.